The applicants have received approval for special incentives from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, enabling them to recover all costs associated with construction and pre-construction of PATH, plus a guaranteed 14.3 percent return. Even without the Commission’s approval, pre-construction costs for PATH will increase my electric bill and provide a profit to the applicants. I object to my electric rates being increased to pay for construction of infrastructure (the transmission line) that will be used by private corporations (the applicants) to increase the sale of their product and corporate profits. I contend that this amounts to socialized cost and privatized gain.
Pre-construction costs, which I will be responsible for a portion of, are mounting daily. This spending of ratepayers’ money is being carried out in what I feel is an irresponsible and self-serving manner. For instance, the applicants spent $4,567,000 purchasing six properties in Loudoun County, Va, that are part of a county-held open space easement, paying well-above current market value for the properties. Once the properties were acquired, the applicants requested that Loudoun County release their easement for the construction of PATH. On April 7, 2009, their request was denied, rendering the properties a useless expenditure of ratepayers’ money. On the other end of the cost spectrum, on February 11, 2008, American Electric Power purchased the internet domain name “pathsucks.com”, presumably to prevent the creation of a website by future unknown opponents of their project. I do not agree that these irresponsible and unnecessary costs should be passed on to ratepayers.
If the items above are typical of the applicants’ expenditures in the pre-construction phase, the ratepayers cannot expect that expenditures during the construction phase will be any more prudent and I wish to be allowed to defend against the increase of my electric rates for a project that I believe will ultimately be proven unnecessary.